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From the Editors

Greetings!

Whether it's drought in the West, pollution in the Midwest or hurricanes in the East, water makes regular headlines in the United States. And while incorporating nature into water management in a more central way won't solve all of our water challenges, investing in watersheds will indeed lead to a safer and more secure supply.

So why don't more cities and regions do it? For several reasons, both simple and complex. There's regulatory uncertainty, disinterest among landowners, and difficulties raising initial capital, to name a few. But the World Resources Institute argues the real challenge is a lack of knowledge-sharing where developers of successful programs can share experiences with newcomers.

Three years ago, WRI set out to change that by performing a comparative analysis of 13 watershed investment programs in the US, and late last month researchers published their findings in a new report.

The goal was to gather intelligence from existing programs along with tangible examples to be applied to different localities, to create a one-stop resource on this critical topic, say report authors Suzanne Ozment and Todd Gartner.

Meanwhile, freshwater ecosystems are part of the agenda at the ongoing UN climate talks in Marrakesh where cities such as Stockholm are encouraging other cities to integrate blue and green corridors into urban planning.

And on the private sector side, this month's Water Log finds some giant food retailers joining an initiative to scale up water stewardship, and new research explores impact investing to finance water infrastructure upgrades.  

All this and more are summarized below. Happy reading,

- The Ecosystem Marketplace team 

 
   

Latest News 

Fixing Water By Fixing Forests: Building Successful Watershed Investment Programs In The US

Watershed investment programs can reduce the costs of managing water while delivering community benefits. But they’re underused, because mobilizing support is difficult and funding can be hard to come by. The World Resources Institute is attempting to ease the burden with a new one-stop resource that offers detailed guidance on what it takes to create a successful watershed investment program.

Keep reading at Ecosystem Marketplace.

Investors See Rockier Road To Low-Carbon Economy Under Trump, But No Dead End

Climate talks are continuing here in Marrakesh, with world leaders vowing to either reach out to the new US administration or continue without them. Investors, meanwhile say the business case for renewables and sustainable agriculture remains strong, but corporate leadership on climate remains elusive.

Keep reading at Ecosystem Marketplace.

Can Individual US States, The Private Sector, And The International Community Fix The Climate Despite Trump Election?

What does the election of Donald Trump mean for climate policy? For now hope is shifting to individual US states and the corporate sector within the US. Internationally, the Obama administration has proven adept at “leading from behind”, and some see Canada or the European Union filling that gap.

Read more here.

How Latin American Farmers Can Make $1K Per Hectare By Restoring Land

Twenty percent of the forests and farmland of Latin America and the Caribbean have been degraded by over-logging, over-grazing, and over-plowing, according to the World Resources Institute, which says that restoring just 20 million hectares can generate $23 billion in net benefits over the next 50 years and slow climate change.

Ecosystem Marketplace has the story.

 

HERE'S THE DEAL

Seeking Innovative Conservation Projects

As the US Department of Agriculture seeks new project proposals for its Conservation Innovation Grant program, it reminds project developers of past winners. For instance, the Willamette Partnership administers the National Network on Water Quality Trading, a forum for advancing the policy and practice of trading, through a grant.

USDA has more.

One in the Same: Resilience and Water Smart

During the ongoing climate talks in Marrakesh, the Stockholm International Water Institute hosted an event encouraging cities to integrate green and natural infrastructure into urban planning, not only to secure water quality but also to meet national climate goals.

For more, read the blog post of SIWI's Sofia Widforss.

What do Lake Erie Farmers Think About Water Quality Trading?

The Western Lake Erie basin is constantly plagued with toxic algae blooms. Local stakeholders are contemplating how water quality trading can help. The Blanchard River Watershed Partnership is partnering with Ohio State University to survey farmers and rural residents to collect their thoughts on local water quality and the trading approach.

The Courier has details.

POLICY WATCH

COP-22 Turns Blue as Oceans Take a Seat at the Table

Coastal ecosystems such as mangrove forests and wetlands are the most effective carbon storehouses on Earth, which makes them critical to combating climate change. And for the first time, these ecosystems - along with oceans - and their blue carbon are on the agenda at a United Nations climate conference.

Read more at CIFOR.

The UN talks happening in Marrakesh, Morocco also held an Action Day for Water on November 9 to remind countries of the critical link, both as a solution and a challenge, between water and climate change.

The Stewardship Report has more.

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

Which Global Food Companies are Up to the Challenge of Water Stewardship?

Ceres and the World Wildlife Fund have launched an initiative called the AgWater Challenge to scale water stewardship and reduce water use among global corporations. Many corporates such as General Mills, Kellogg, PepsiCo and Hormel Foods have signed up for the challenge, which involves submitting sustainable sourcing and water stewardship plans.

Justmeans has the story.

NEW RESEARCH

How Much for This Ecosystem Service?

For anyone interested in the value of clean water and other ecosystem services, the Environmental Protection Agency, in partnership with the US Department of Agriculture's Office of Environmental Markets and Ecosystem Marketplace, launched new mapping data of ecosystem markets in the country.

Get details at EPA's blog or read Ecosystem Marketplace's article on the new mapping data from last month.

Increasing the Flow of Private Money into Water

Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Aspen Institute recently published findings from their annual water forum. Among the findings: Focus should be on scaled solutions and integration; and barriers prevent the flow of private dollars into water though there is private finance available.

Download the report from the Aspen Institute.

Secret Sauce for Storm Protection: Nature

When Superstorm Sandy tore through the Northeastern US, coastal wetlands managed to reduce property damage worth $625 million, according to new research led by The Nature Conservancy. The sector-spanning study utilized the latest modeling techniques from the fields of conservation, engineering and insurance. Findings highlight the benefits of preserving nature for people and property.

Read more at the Insurance Journal.

First Scale Up Infrastructure Investments, Then Go Green

In a study recently published online, researchers argue that scaling up green and low carbon infrastructure investments is not a matter of establishing new resources. Rather, it requires unlocking the trillions in annual infrastructure dollars that have yet to be deployed and then de-carbonizing it.

Pacific Standard has the story.

Investing in Nature an Easier Sell to Ratepayers

Water ratepayers would rather pay for green infrastructure than gray, new research out of the University of Delaware reveals. Researchers say the findings indicate that people are willing to pay more for conservation and like the idea of permanently protecting their water source.

Keep reading at Water Online

   
   

ABOUT FOREST TRENDS' ECOSYSTEM MARKETPLACE

Ecosystem Marketplace is an initiative of Forest Trends, a tax-exempt corporation under Section 501(c)3. This newsletter and other dimensions of our market tracking programs are funded by a series of international development agencies, philanthropic foundations, and private sector organizations. For more information on donating to Ecosystem Marketplace, please contact info@ecosystemmarketplace.com.

 
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